More than 7,000 Think Together students will benefit from team sports with the $315,000 grant from the LA84 Foundation.
SANTA ANA, Calif., Feb. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Think Together, California’s leading nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning, and school improvement programs, today announced the award of a $315,000 grant from the LA84 Foundation, a nationally recognized leader of youth sports programs focused on positive youth development.
This grant allows students from traditionally under-resourced communities to participate in free competitive team sports from flag football to volleyball, soccer and basketball. Through repeat grants from the LA84 Foundation, Think Together has been able to expand sports program offerings to every one of its middle school programs across Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, giving more than 7,000 students at 88 schools the opportunity to engage in sports.
At one school in Think Together’s Palm Springs region, eighth grader Alanna has been thriving since participating in sports. Alanna was the only girl on her middle school’s flag football team and was named team captain for the season. “As a girl, it was a little intimidating to join a flag football team where it is majority boys on the teams, but I took the chance and I came to practice every day. I was devoted and my coach recognized my hard work and named me captain.”
Before joining her program’s flag football team, Alanna considered herself to be shy and lacking confidence. Now, she sees herself honing her leadership skills, teamwork skills, and coming out of her shell.
Participating in flag football at Think Together has sparked an interest in Alanna to continue playing sports as she enters high school next year. Her goal? To join the varsity soccer or wrestling teams in her freshman year. “Go big or go home,” Alanna shared.
As schools have adapted to their post-pandemic norms, Think Together has worked with partners to bridge the expansive learning gap the pandemic created, emphasizing student mental health, catching up on learning to ensure grade level competency and getting students engaged in physical activity programs.
“The research shows that physical activity is as important for learning and development as time in the classroom,” said Think Together Founder and CEO Randy Barth. “Think Together’s partnership with the LA84 Foundation allows our organization to offer a well-rounded approach to ensure student minds and bodies are active and healthy.”
Think Together provides sports programs with three 10-week rotations: a basketball program for boys and girls in the winter; a boys and girls soccer program in the spring; and flag football and volleyball programs in the fall, each with culminating tournaments.
Think Together and the LA84 Foundation have partnered since 2008, and have since served approximately 50,000 students with sports programming, alongside sports and healthy living partners like the LA Dodgers Foundation, US Soccer Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.
“Sports, play and movement have a significant impact on students creating positive outcomes in the classroom as well as their overall well-being,” said Nolan Ortiz, Director, Grants & Programs of the LA84 Foundation. “Think Together continues to expand its sports programming to reach more youth. We thank Think Together for their partnership and commitment to closing the play equity gap.”
Private philanthropic grants from funders like the LA84 Foundation are pivotal to Think Together’s expanded learning programs and provide students with equitable access to academic and enrichment programs many youth may not otherwise receive.
Think Together’s expanded learning programs are funded through a blend of private philanthropy and public funding including After School Education and Safety (ASES) grants awarded by the California Department of Education, 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants provided by the U.S. Department of Education, and Expanded Learning Opportunity Program contracts from local school districts.
About Think Together
Think Together partners with schools and communities to pursue educational equity and excellence for all kids. Think Together is a nonprofit organization that innovates, implements, and scales academic solutions that change the odds for hundreds of thousands of California students. Think Together’s program areas include early learning, afterschool, school support services, and leadership development for teachers and school administrators. For more information, call (888) 485-THINK or visit www.thinktogether.org.
About the LA84 Foundation
The LA84 Foundation is a nationally recognized leader about the role of sports in positive youth development. For nearly four decades, the LA84 Foundation has supported thousands of youth-serving organizations in Southern California through grant making and funding infrastructure, while also training coaches, commissioning research and serving as a national thought leader on issues involving sports as it relates to childhood health. The LA84 Foundation levels the playing field to ensure all kids have access and opportunity, regardless of income, gender, or ability, while elevating sports as a pathway to lifelong well-being. To learn more, visit www.la84.org and @LA84Foundation on Twitter and Instagram.
SOURCE Think Together